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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Do RNs own us RTs? Or are we a team?

Yesterday I wrote that I was called to a patient room because the nurse wanted me to give a breathing treatment. She didn't ask, just told me to do it.

To keep the peace, I did it.

So as I was finishing the neb the RN said, "Now I want you to suction."

Of course I refused since the pt didn't even need the treatment. I think this RN believes that I work for her. I'm her RT. I love her as a person, but she's a contemptuously impudent nurse.

I know I'm not the only RT to have an experience as such as recently I had another RT email me because she had a nurse she liked as a person, but who basically referred to RTs as "My RT."

This RT wrote,

"I actually have a question regarding the way I've heard two nurses in the past week refer to RT's. I'm wondering if this is a national 'trend' or if it's just coincidence that I've heard this... and I'm wondering how RT's feel about this.

I was talking to a nurse friend of mine on the phone (an LPN) and while she's a good friend, she's a very cocky nurse. :) And she was ranting and raving about a resident coming in and changing the settings on "her" ventilator and how she had to have "HER" RT come and fix it. Obviously, she knows I'm an RT student and she just kept going on about orders she had to give "HER" RT to fix everything... She spoke (and has in the past) very possessively of RT's as if they work for her.

On the other hand, I was reading a blog this morning written from a nurse who was highly praising RT's and their work and talking about how much she values them. However, she also referred to a specific RT as "her" RT but only her tone was more of a proud tone. She spoke more like, "I'm glad this person was my RT." More in reference of the RT being paired to that nurse's patient.

Is this common verbiage?

This is a great question she poses, and one of which I had to think long and hard about. At first I wasn't sure how to answer it, until tonight I had the experience I explained above. While she didn't refer to me as "her RT," she certainly did imply it.

Tonight I so happen to work with other nurses I love and respect, so I simply walked up to one and said. "So, say you thought a patient needed to be suctioned, and I assessed the patient and said I don't think so. What would you do."

She said, "Well, I'd say, 'Okay, You're the expert," and then I'd go on about my business."

"Cool," I said. I think most nurses would respond the same way. I think most nurses respect us Rts just as we respect you guys.'

"Well," she said," you are the ones who are the lung experts. It would be imprudent not to respect your judgement."

"Thanks, I needed that," I said.

So, is to refer to RTs as "My RT" common verbiage? I would have to say no. However, there are certain RNs out and about, a small percentage -- perhaps like 5% -- who are condescending, all-knowing and believe they are superior to RTs in such a way that they are our bosses and we are to do as we are told.

I don't have a problem with these RNs MOST of the time. If they ask me to do something -- and it usually doesn't take long to figure out an RN is this personality type -- I usually just do it to keep the peace. I'll do a breathing treatment because a treatment can do no harm.

But the political me stops there. I will not suction a patient just because the nurse says so. I don't care if the nurse hates me to pieces. I don't care if she writes me up. And you should stand your ground too.
RT Cave Rule #41: RTs are trained professionals. We know the lungs like the backs of our hands. We respect your RN wisdom, so respect our RT wisdom. Respect us RTs the way we respect you RNs.

RT Cave Rele #42: If you're an RN, and you have a concern regarding a patient's breathing, call the on duty RT, ask for an opinion, and respect the opinion you receive. Respect us RTs the way we respect our fellow RNs.

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